Who Is Hasnat Khan, Princess Diana’s Boyfriend on Season 5 of ‘The Crown’?

Di’s friends have said she referred to the doctor as “the love of her life.”

Hasnat Khan in 'The Crown'
(Image credit: Netflix)

When you think about Princess Diana’s romantic life after her divorce from Prince Charles, likely the first person to pop into your head is Dodi Fayed, who died alongside her in the tragic August 1997 car crash. But Diana’s relationship with Fayed lasted only a few weeks before their tragic deaths—and before she began dating the film producer, the royal had devoted much more time to a relationship with a man who she described as her “soulmate,” according to 2008 testimony from her former butler.

That was Hasnat Khan, a Pakistan-born heart surgeon who Diana met in 1995 during a chance encounter at the hospital where he worked. People close to the princess have said that she regularly referred to Khan as “Mr. Wonderful” and the love of her life, though they broke up after just two years together, shortly before her death.

Khan appears in season 5 of The Crown, which arrived on Netflix this week and which depicts the final years of Diana’s life. He’s played by Humayun Saeed, and much of his onscreen portrayal certainly seems to match up with what we know about their real-life romance. 

Diana and Khan met as her marriage to Charles was coming to a close.

In a rare interview last year with the Daily Mail, Khan could still recall the exact date in 1995 when he first met Diana: “We met on August 27. It was bank holiday Monday, and she was visiting one of my patients,” he said.

That would place their meeting well after Charles and Diana’s separation in 1992, but almost exactly a year before their divorce was finalized In August 1996.

Diana was at the Royal Brompton Hospital that day to comfort her acupuncturist, whose husband was undergoing triple heart bypass surgery. She continued to visit regularly over the next several weeks, Khan said, during which they struck up a friendship.

“One day I came out of the hospital, and she was going in, and she shouted at me, ‘Oi, where are you going?’” Khan told the Daily Mail. “I said I was going to my uncle’s house in Stratford-upon-Avon to collect some books, and I blurted out, ‘Do you want to come?’ She said yes, and that was it, really.”

He continued, “We drove up there, drove back and found this wonderful connection. She was very ordinary in many ways, a normal person with great warmth.”

Diana considered marrying Khan.

Over the course of the next two years, the pair became increasingly close. Diana traveled with her boyfriend to meet his family in Pakistan in 1996, and Khan testified in a 2008 statement that he had met Princes William and Harry. 

Their relationship was “very good,” with “no personal problems,” he said, adding, “The only problem we did have was with the media, and the only place we could have any real privacy was at Kensington Palace, as they could not get to us there.”

In his own 2008 testimony, Diana’s butler, Paul Burrell, said the princess had asked him to look into arranging a “private marriage” for her and Khan.

Khan verified Burrell’s account about Diana’s inquiries, but he was seemingly less set on tying the knot. “Although we did talk about marriage, we did not make a point of sitting down and discussing the specifics,” he said. “My main concern about us getting married was that my life would be hell because of who she was. I knew I would not be able to live a normal life, and if we ever had children together, I would not be able to take them anywhere or do normal things with them.”

Sadly, the relationship ended before they ever got to that point. Khan said that Diana called things off in July 1997, mere weeks before her death and shortly after she had returned from a vacation to St. Tropez with Mohamed Fayed—after which she’s believed to have struck up a romance with his son, Dodi. 

“I think that Diana finally realized that Al Fayed could give her all the things I could not. He had money and could provide the necessary security for her,” Khan recalled in 2008.

That was the last time they spoke before her death, Khan said. Despite their then-recent breakup, he still attended Diana’s funeral in September 1997.

Khan has rarely spoken about his relationship with Diana.

These days, it feels like anyone who ever crossed paths with Diana during her tragically short life has spilled what they knew of the people’s princess to a tabloid newspaper, documentary film crew, unauthorized biography writer or other outlet—whether to cash in on their allotted 15 minutes of fame or an actual payout. 

But Khan has largely stayed mum about his time with the royal in the 25 years since her death. Before last year’s conversation with the Daily Mail, he had only ever offered up intimate details of their relationship in formal police investigations into the 1997 car crash, and even then, he has always remained compassionate and respectful when speaking about her.

“I think that if Diana were alive today, we would have remained very good friends, whatever she did and whomever she was with,” he said in 2008. “I do not know what Diana was like in other relationships, but she protected me very well, not just from the media but also from a lot of information.”

Khan has continued to stay under the radar in the decades since he dated Diana. He’s still a practicing physician in Essex, outside of London, and is currently married to his second wife.

Andrea Park is a Chicago-based writer and reporter with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the extended Kardashian-Jenner kingdom, early 2000s rom-coms and celebrity book club selections. She graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2017 and has also written for W, Brides, Glamour, Women's Health, People and more.